- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Here’s a look at some toys and a game devoted to the upcoming movie “Solo: A Star Wars Story” and a galaxy far, far, away.

Chewbacca Electronic Mask (Hasbro, ages 5 and older, requires two AAA batteries, included, $29.99) — Children and some small-headed adults can now release their inner Wookiee with this costuming accessory. A hard-plastic half mask gets strapped at the back of the head to cover the face and when a wearer opens his mouth, its jaw lowers and a roar lets loose from the speaker hidden in its temple. How wide the mouth opens determines whether we get a howl, growl or sustained roar.

The mask stays in place with the elastic adjustable straps, and soft plastic pieces to rest the nose and chin on.

Although guaranteed to make fans giggle and scare small animals, the mask’s most important function currently exists as an assistant to an important promotion taking place from May 3-25.

Specifically, Lucasfilm and Disney’s have unleashed a challenge in support of UNICEF called “Roar for Change” as part of their “Star Wars: Force for Change” charitable initiative.

Fans, with or without the mask, can digitally capture their own version of Chewbacca’s iconic roar and share their efforts on social media. For each post, like or share on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter that includes the hashtag #RoarForChange, the charity will donate $1 to UNICEF USA, up to $1 million.

The funds will be used to support UNICEF’s critical work for children around the world.

Bladebuilders Force Master Lightsaber (Hasbro, ages 5 and older, requires three AAA batteries, included, $29.99) — The most trusted weapon of a devotee of the Force offers children the chance to hear some encouragement from venerable Jedi and Sith leaders while honing their lightsaber skills.

The 3-foot-long translucent plastic blade comes to life when expanded after swinging it forward and pressing a button near the top of the yellow-and-grey handle. It crackles with power and glows either red, blue, green or purple, corresponding to the iconic saber colors of Darth Vader, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda or Mace Windu.

The saber offers a whopping 24 phrases along with iconic sound effects. Suffice it to report, exposing junior to such classic lines from the original movie actors as “do or do not, there is no try,” “you must learn the ways of the Force” and “give yourself to the dark side of the Force,” will not only excite the Padawan but the adult “Star Wars” fan as well.

Options also allow depressing both buttons to silence the voices and using downward, attack strokes to get other striking effects. An additional connector piece is included for attaching the saber to other Bladebuilder light saber component sets (sold separately).

Han Solo Card Game (Hasbro, ages 10 and older, $19.99) — Up to four gamblers can now take part in the game, inspired by the Correllian Spike version of Sabacc, that ultimately cost Lando Calrissian his beloved Millennium Falcon to the luckiest smuggler in the galaxy.

The strategy involves drawing and discarding numbered cards in each round to create a hand that adds up to as near to zero as possible.

Round winners can then choose from valuable, color-coded bounty credit tokens tied to items such as an Imperial Heavy TIE Fighter, Skyblade 330 Scoop Bike, Mudtrooper helmet and the Falcon. The player with the richest bounty after all tokens have been distributed wins the game.

Keys to the challenge involve some quick mental calculations skills used to compute positive and negative numbers, and the dice also play a huge spoiler. Rolled after every turn by the dealer, if the die icons match, all players replace their hand with new cards.

The game includes a 62-card deck, 24 cardboard bounty tokens and a pair of lucky plastic dice (not gold, sorry Han).

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